In July, 2018, the Federal Government approved the first device for testing drivers’ saliva for the presence of drugs.
Until now, the police would test for drug-impaired driving by conducted a roadside standardized field sobriety test, which involves tests such as standing on one foot or walking in a straight line.
The saliva-testing device is a mobile device which will allow police officers to swab the inside of a driver’s mouth to receive a sample of oral fluid. The oral fluid would then be run in a mobile machine to test for the presence of THC to determine if there has been recent consumption of cannabis. The saliva-testing device has also been approved to test for the recent consumption of cocaine.
If a driver fails a mobile screening device, the result will be used along with other observations to form a police officer’s reasonable grounds that the driver is impaired by drugs. The driver will be arrested and transported to a police station for further testing.
Unlike an alcohol-screen device, the science behind a drug-screening device is much less established. There will be many challenges to the reliability of the mobile device and oral fluid testing.
If you have been charged with drug-impaired driving, contact Lockyer Posner Craig for assistance.
Is My Life Over After a DUI?
We all know someone who has gotten caught driving under the influence after a drink or a few too many. Though we might not think of these people as “criminals”, impaired driving in Ontario can result in a criminal conviction regardless of how someone is punished. Even if the end result is a mandatory fine, a criminal conviction can have consequences on a person’s life long after that fine is paid.
For example, a DUI conviction under section 253 of the Criminal Code can impede job prospects, or affect entry to the USA, by appearing in criminal record and vulnerable sector checks.
There is only one way to remove the conviction from a criminal record: a “record suspension” (formerly known as a “pardon”). Obtaining a record suspension is a lengthy process. If you have a DUI conviction, you must wait 5-10 years before you can even apply for one to the Parole Board of Canada. As part of the application, you must demonstrate that you have been “of good conduct” and that you have not been convicted of any further offences. The good news is that once it is granted, the conviction will no longer appear on your criminal record or in a vulnerable sector check, and you will no longer be required to disclose the conviction on Canadian employment forms.
An impaired driving conviction is a serious matter that can affect your life and reputation for many years. If you have been charged with impaired driving, obtain legal advice and ask your lawyer to explain all of your options.
It is common knowledge that driving drunk can lead to criminal charges. But what if you are driving high?
Currently, under section 253 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to drive “impaired” and it is an offence to drive with a blood alcohol level of over 80 milligrams per 100 mL of blood (known in criminal law circles as “driving over 80”).
Drivers who have not been drinking but who are stoned or high generally don’t have to worry about the “over 80” offence, but they can be charged for driving “impaired”. Indicators of driving impaired may include:
- Erratic driving
- Dilated pupils/reddened eyes
- Failing a “standard field sobriety test” (inability to walk-and-turn, standing on one leg)
- Failing a “drug recognition evaluation” (examination of various factors including pupil size, blood pressure, injection sites, balance test)
- Blood/urine drug tests
Because “impairment” can be subjective and difficult to prove (even blood and urine tests may be unable to establish “impairment” at the time of the offence), it has been rarer for people to be charged with drug-related impaired driving offences.
Bill C-46 sets out to change Canada’s approach to high drivers. The bill proposes amendments to the current impaired driving law that create “over 80” style rules for drivers on drugs. Accompanying regulations will define allowable “blood drug concentrations” and drivers who are caught driving with concentrations that exceed the new limits could be criminally charged. Until regulations are created and the new law comes into force, the current law stands.